The Theosophical
Society in Australia

With International Headquarters at Adyar, Chennai, India.

Canberra Group

Coordinator: Gordon Herbert
Secretary: Barbara Harrod

Meetings cancelled until further notice.

Meeting place: Friends' Meeting House, 17 Bent Steet, Turner (on the corner of Bent and Condamine Streets)
Meet: 2 - 4 pm 3rd Saturday each month.

2.00pm     Saturday 21 August

Cancelled until further notice.

Topic: The Cathars

Presenter: Elayne Strahan

About the presenter: Elayne Strahan
Elayne Strahan is a retired Commonwealth public servant with twenty-five years’ experience in social work practice, commonwealth social research, policy development and programme implementation for the Australian government. She has a social policy research Masters from the Australian Demographic Social Research Institute (ADSRI) at the Australian National University (ANU). 

Elayne has always had an interest in esoteric matters and has been involved in the spiritualist movement for forty years not just in Canberra but elsewhere in Australia. She is currently completing private research on the Cathars with the view of making her findings available to a wider audience by publication of a book that she is planning.

About the presentation: The Cathars
Elayne has always had an interest in esoteric matters. In 2013, she travelled with her sister to Europe to discover more of their family’s ancestry. This included going to the south of France, where they went on a small tour to experience the landscape, and to learn more about the history of the Cathars who had resided there over 800 years ago. The chance observation of a curious statue in an old Cistercian Abbey, located in the Languedoc, gave full flight to their imagination. Why was something that seemed so Christian also something very ‘pagan’, such as an image found in fortune telling cards? Further, why in this abbey and why this location? Since then, Elayne and her sister have been researching these questions and looking at events that occurred in ‘Cathar Country’ all those centuries ago. They believe they have built a unique understanding as to who the Cathars were, what they believed and how they are still with us today.

Key Points for presentation and discussion:

  • Who are the Cathars and how do they feature in history?
  • Separating out Cathar romantic legends and notions of the Languedoc/Provence region from the facts.
  • Traditional Cathar history based on the military interventions and the politics of the Roman Catholic church. The seemingly benign influence of Aristotle.
  • Quick Historical overview of the region from pre-history to Cathar wars, including geography, ancient infrastructure (pagan/Christian) and famous historical figures.
  • What did they believe and why were they labelled a heresy?
  • Cultural and familial ties of the Cathars, including the feudal system and the Troubadours.
  • The aftermath for the Cathars and the start of the Inquisitions.


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